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Advice - Customer Coloring

Hello there. I've been a long-time lurker of this community, reading all about risks and bad experiences on commissions before I started my own. And now I've finally joined to ask for a bit of advice.

I've recently gotten a customer interested in a character sheet commission. Their interest is in lineart, because while they want the picture colored, they've told me they could color the lines themselves. Obviously a picture with colors, even flat ones, is more expensive than just lineart, so I understand the reason for the request.

For commissions, I don't send the original sai/psd file: I send my clients png files, but admittedly, my lineart is very clean, so it wouldn't be hard to either fill in the blanks or use certain techniques in photoshop to make a layer out of it. I do offer sending over the original file for an extra fee, and of course I'd expect the client to make minor modifications to the piece if they bought the original file, but I guess I never thought I'd be asked to send in a sketch or lineart just so the customer could finish the picture. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the message it would send, either: why would anyone buy my flats, if they can buy my lineart and the original file, and finish the job themselves for a lower price? Not to mention the obvious self-doubt that goes on there. Are my flats that bad? Are my prices too high?

I've worked with this customer before, for a simple sketch. Those lines are messier than my lineart, but back then, they asked if they could lay some flats on the sketch to test it out, and I said yes. That might've been a mistake on my end, but well, it's a sketch, not on par with my more polished stuff, so I didn't really think much of it.

So first, I wanted to know the community's thoughts on accepting lower-tier commissions when the customer has admitted they'll be heavily modifying (read: finishing) the picture themselves. Perhaps I'm being overzealous without realizing it. Then second, depending on that first question, how I should deal with the customer (good person, not pushy or anything) about this.

Thanks in advance to anyone reading this, and any advice that might get offered.

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Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
sirmeo
Feb. 2nd, 2015 06:30 pm (UTC)
How long it does take for you to color? Are you fast inker/sketched but slower when it comes to coloring? If you are, you might be making more money per hour if you let someone else color, so that's a thing to consider.

How steep is price difference between lineart/flats? Maybe you are not overcharging your colored work, but rather undercharging your lineart work!

But most importantly, if you feel for any reason uncomfortable with having this person color your artwork, don't let them. Inform them politely that you don't really like your work being modified heavily.
bunnox
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:11 pm (UTC)
There's not much difference when it comes to time I spend in lineart and coloring -- It takes me a little bit longer if I pull on full color, but I don't feel like it's a huge leap, like it takes double or triple the time or such. It's always dependent on workload (how many characters there are/how complex the picture is). The price leap isn't that huge, either, five extra bucks per character when it comes to coloring, but for something with many full-body shots like a reference sheet, it would add up for certain (though I tend to give discounts in such cases, not charging the full fee per body).

You do present very good points, though. Thanks a lot! I think I'll go through on this, and just make a comment to them personally if I get discomforted again.
MonoxDragon
Feb. 2nd, 2015 06:31 pm (UTC)
I think the people just want to make sure that the character is correctly coloured to their satisfaction and thus prefer to do it themselves. I personally don't commission references for that specific reason haha.

In any case, if it bothers you a lot just don't offer the option of giving the original file as well.


Personally, I'd never do this because I'm still quite paranoid that my work will be redistributed without my consent/permission haha. The most they'd get out of me is a png file, simply because I don't feel comfortable with sharing my files for other people to finish.

(not sure if this answered your question ahh)
bunnox
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:17 pm (UTC)
It did, don't worry, and thanks a lot for your input!

I think you might be right on the color. This commission isn't for a character from scratch: it's for a character they already have art for, just not a solid character sheet. And every reference they've sent me tend to have slightly different colors, if at all, so I guess coloring it yourself gives you the colors you're looking for specifically.

I've decided to take away the option to buy the original file, too, unless there's special circumstances. Not everyone knows how to extract lineart into it's own layer from a png, so that should assuage most of my discomfort with this.
wuvvumsoc
Feb. 2nd, 2015 06:32 pm (UTC)
The decision is ultimately up to you, but it's hard to say why they may prefer coloring. It might be to save money, it might also be because they prefer a specific coloring style over yours. It might also be because they find coloring fun or want to practice it. No matter their reason it's your art and your call on the matter.
bunnox
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:19 pm (UTC)
I think the main reason would be money, since this customer has expressed that they don't have all those many funds to send into commissions, but you might be right about coloring, too.

I decided I'll go through with the commission, just comment if I get uncomfortable, and take away the option to buy the original files. Though I'll also have to tack on a "original file erased after X months, any revisions must be done before then" sort of clause.

Thanks for your input!
wuvvumsoc
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:26 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Glad you found a solution that works for you. :)
wuvvumsoc
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:27 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. Glad you found a solution that works for you. :)
vauvakolibri
Feb. 2nd, 2015 06:40 pm (UTC)
I can think plenty of reasons why someone would want to colour lines by themselves, especially on a character sheet, that wouldn't have anything negative to do with you. Maybe they really like colouring (after all there are people who do it as their job and enjoy colouring other people's linearts) or want to practice, or they think they need a lot of different tests on the colours if they plan on changing/colour style/marking experimenting, which could be very time consuming/frustrating to you and expensive for them.
Overall I think you should go with what you feel comfortable with.
bunnox
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:21 pm (UTC)
You might be right about the coloring, yeah. They already have pictures done of their character, so this isn't a "from scratch/description" sort of sheet, it's more like seeking out a more unified reference, maybe. But I can see how they might want to pick the colors themselves, or practice coloring.

Thanks for your input, it's very appreciated!
chaossal
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:12 pm (UTC)
I can understand why someone would want to color their own character sheet. I'm sure they just want to make sure everything is correct because it is what they will be using to show there sona when buying commissions. It would really suck for them if you got something wrong and I have noticed some artist hate to be asked to fix things and can get really angry and not fix it or do a sloppy fix when they get somthing wrong. Not saying you're that kind of artist of course but the fear is there due to some people.
bunnox
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:26 pm (UTC)
Well, I've worked with the customer on a sketch before, and I'd think I was pretty open about modifications even then -- I do have a type of commission which has a low price and is quick to make, but the downside is "no revisions", but for everything else I offer, I try to involve the customer as much as they'd like, and I haven't had any complaints about it so far, so I'm not too concerned about that being the issue. xD

I think you might be right on picking the right colors for the character, though. I've decided to go through with the commission, and just voice my concerns to the customer if I feel uncomfortable again or so.
killercacti
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:32 pm (UTC)
Echoing everyone's sentiments above - there are a myriad of reasons why they might want to color it themselves!

But if you're not comfortable with someone else coloring your work, that's OK, too. It's OK to refuse the commission because you just don't want them coloring your stuff! It's OK to have an emotional reaction to that kind of thing. I would, too.
houndofloki
Feb. 2nd, 2015 07:48 pm (UTC)
This is probably someone who wants very specific colors on their character, but doesn't want to be "annoying overly picky client" by either asking for a ton of color revisions or sending you 15 different hex codes.

It's up to you whether you want to allow this or not. Keep in mind that while allowing Specific Colors guy to add flats to his own image will probably work out just fine - you may next end up with Cheapskate Guy who wants to color and shade the image himself, then winds up posting a piece of your work with a color job that looks like a hot mess (and could be bad publicity for you.) If you do decide to allow it, I'd definitely make it a case-by-case basis thing.
keyoki
Feb. 2nd, 2015 08:01 pm (UTC)
I've done ref sheet line art for one customer multiple times. They wanted uncolored lines because they weren't actually sure on the markings for their character and wanted to fiddle around with it. In my case it was better for me to get in, make the lines, and get out then to email back and forth while I make changes to the character for them.

Not saying that I don't like working on ref sheets (i love it) but sometimes it's just more cost effective to let the customer to do it themselves.

What you choose to do it up to you though. You can turn down the commission and add something in your ToS emphasizing that work should not be edited.
dodger_greywing
Feb. 2nd, 2015 09:15 pm (UTC)
I've done this before, actually for the same guy as keyoki. I've since offered them as regular commissions, because I really don't mind leaving the coloring and final ref sheet layout to someone else.

You definitely run the risk of your lines ending up out there with poor coloring. That personally wouldn't bother me, so long as it was clearly marked on the image/in the description that the coloring was done by someone else. But that's definitely a personal preference thing.
aerospiritual
Feb. 2nd, 2015 11:16 pm (UTC)
Honestly, if its something you're not comfortable with, then you have every right[on top of the legal ones] to decline and request that you do the coloring yourself. Though, if this is something you'd like to be okay with, then it'd be totally worth specifying in your TOS that unless the client asks and has your permission to color linework, that it is not to be edited. You could also add a clause that states that either the client or you, yourself, are the only one who has permission to color your linework, and that would probably nip people trying to get a discounted commission from you, right in the bud.

Personally, I've commissioned linework before, and with the express intent of coloring it myself- sometimes it's just really enjoyable to color someone else's lines, not to mention that it's always neat to see how two styles can mesh together!
wilk_canine
Feb. 2nd, 2015 11:33 pm (UTC)
You also have the option of allowing them to color it, but only for personal or referential use. As in they can't post the coloured piece, just the lines?
I dunno, that's the posistion I usually take when I buy sketches. If I'm going to colour/line them I just keep it for reference and personal use.
spartanwerewolf
Feb. 3rd, 2015 07:33 am (UTC)
tbh, I do this with ref sheets. I've got a couple of friends that are okay with being commissioned for lines to be coloured (I'm the guy keyoki and dodger_greywing are talking about xD. I'm not so good with the anatomies but pretty okay with the colouring and design parts).

It's not a matter of not wanting to pay them, it's a matter of wanting my character(s) to be coloured/designed the exact way I want, without four thousand tweaks for markings, etc. I usually go into a character with an idea of body type and species, but not necessarily markings. Instead of pestering them to change things, it's just quicker and easier to colour it myself

I wouldn't send the original psd or sai files though- I've never had someone do that for lines. They just send a png. I'd suggest just requiring them to put on the ref that you did the lines, not the colouring; this is what I do when I commission lines.
teekchan
Feb. 3rd, 2015 07:18 pm (UTC)
Mentioning that they have to state they colored is a good tip!
Ive had people come to me and say they only want line art because my coloring is awful... And then linked something someone bucket filled in MSpaint! I had to explain the customer did it, yet I was credited fully.
spartanwerewolf
Feb. 4th, 2015 08:06 am (UTC)
It just saves the line artist from people assuming their colouring is ass. Or, in my case, since I'm a much better colourist than anything else, prevents people from thinking I'm good at lines and anatomy. So it's a good practice on both ends.

Egads, MSPaint bucket fill -_-
teekchan
Feb. 3rd, 2015 07:15 pm (UTC)
I personally allow people to color sketches line, but only by themselves. I make it very clear no one can profit off my line work, either with income or trades. If they are getting someone else to color it they must ask me.

Break these and I will have FA staff take down the image.

I often can only purchase a sketch or lines myself, and if I asked to color and the artist said something along the lines of 'No, buy my colored stuff', I likely wouldn't go back if they were rude about it. I'd rather spend what little money I have on artists that understand the difference between being poor or someone looking to save a buck. I always ask, and if an artist says no, I thank them.
teekchan
Feb. 3rd, 2015 07:16 pm (UTC)
Oh and I never give out psds or sais. Just the flat png file. I would not feel comfortable giving them my work files at all.
mistresswolf
Feb. 3rd, 2015 11:00 pm (UTC)
Personally, and I know this isn't for everyone... I only offer shaded pics (or a small discount if I don't shade). I never offer only lineart/sketches. Well, except to one client since they are b/w icon things for a fur con rules book.

I would not allow a customer to edit the image themselves. Only to crop for icons.

In the past I've asked artists I've commissioned if I can color the art they've sent me, but I am perfectly willing to accept a 'no' answer, and I will still buy the art at whatever price point I can afford.


As for how I would handle it if one of my customers asked me... since I don't offer only lineart, I would just say "I'm sorry, I only offer fully colored pictures. I feel my work looks best if I take care of the entirety of it myself." ... My prices are already rock bottom though, and I wouldn't be willing to discount things even further anyway.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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